Barca aren’t only ones with stars

Champions League winner with Man Utd says Catalans­ aren’t in league of their own

IHAVE to laugh when I hear people dismissing this Manchester United team as the weakest title-winning group Sir Alex Ferguson has built.

There is no such thing as weak Premier League champions and to my mind this is the most underrated side of the Ferguson era.

Barcelona are being billed as unbeatable in certain places but the reality is these two teams are evenly matched. There might be no 50-goal-a-season striker in the Old Trafford ranks right now, but that defensive unit, collectively and individually, can’t be bettered anywhere in Europe.

I wouldn’t take anyone else over Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra is the best left-back around and, like Peter Schmeichel in the side I played for, Edwin van der Sar is the sort of match-winning goalkeeper you need to be able to compete for the biggest prizes. When you look at those names – and add in Wayne Rooney – United have as many world stars as Barcelona.

Regardless of individual qualities, however, the great strength I see in this United side is their belief and unity – it’s extremely reminiscent of the Treble winners of 1999 – and it all stems from the manager. It’s one of Fergie’s great skills to be able to keep a squad of quality players happy.

Look at the situation with Dimitar Berbatov – If I was him I’d be absolutely devastated. He’s just ended the season as the Premier League’s top scorer and yet it looks like he’ll be watching the final from the sidelines.

Andrew Cole was speaking on behalf of Barclays the title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League. Every 90 minutes throughout the season Barclays is offering fans the chance to win free tickets to Barclays Premier League matches by going to a Barclays ATM and requesting a receipt or by visiting www.barclaysticketoffice.com.